Ground Zero

I’ve debated writing about this. On one hand, it’s not a big deal. On the other hand, it kinda is.

Earlier this year I felt fantastic. I was playing softball and training for a triathlon. Weight was finally dropping, I was getting faster, my energy levels were great.

Then I had blood work done to check my chronically low Vitamin D levels and was diagnosed as severely diabetic.

This year. It’s been a journey of meds and lifestyle changes. Of feeling terrible to feeling normal to feeling terrible again. Of finding out I could “do everything right” and my body still would not respond.

For the record – it is really difficult to stick with the whole strict lifestyle when you feel worse AND your body doesn’t respond.

My mental/emotional journey has not been linear. I have been mad. I checked all the right boxes and my body betrayed me anyway. I have been ashamed. Obviously I *DIDN’T* take care of myself and made myself sick. I have been discouraged and sad. What I do doesn’t matter; all my goals are out of reach and my life is now defined by this. I have been hyper focused and determined. I can eat perfect and work out harder than before; I can reverse this. It changes from week to week – sometimes from day to day. And I’ve found that how I feel physically greatly impacts my mental state. Since I have spent the past couple of months dealing with fatigue and nausea (yay supplemental meds), the mental battle has been the main one I’ve fought. Discouragement stalks me on a regular basis. I’m not ready to succumb completely.

I spend a lot of time on the couch right now (see above: fatigue). I have been forced to slow down (stop) and re-evaluate. I’m finally accepting that the goals, plans and priorities¬†I had for this year, and the foreseeable future, are irrelevant. That leaves a void. I don’t know that I’ve ever stared in the future with absolutely NO idea of how I was going to proceed, with a complete absence of an objective.

Right now the only thing I am ready to commit to is getting my brain back in this whole fighting for my health thing. I haven’t given up. Not completely. But I haven’t been as focused and strict as I could be. Maybe I’ll up my reading and writing game again too. We’ll see.

Y Not Tri 2016 – Preamble, set up and swim report

I honestly did not intend to sign up for any races this year at all. Nope. Wasn’t in my game plan. I had my year planned out and it consisted of relaxed, low key, workouts that vaguely focused on strength training and yoga. But for some indecipherable reason, if something sounds scary or hard, my usual reaction is “I need to do that.” I’m going back to school this fall and was told I didn’t need to take micro-biology for this particular degree path. My immediate reaction “But I WANTED to take it!” I’m uncoordinated and nonathletic and yet I signed up for softball last spring. And after talking to a friend in April, I signed up for the middle distance of the Y Not Tri (400 meter swim, 6 mi bike, 2 mi run). Also – I am quite susceptible to peer pressure. ūüėõ

I did this race two years ago (except I did the version half the distance of what I did this year). I was pretty confident about it. I actually trained somewhat and while I knew I would not be taking any podium spots, I knew I would finish. The Pulse Running and Fitness shop puts together a FANTASTIC training group each year. (Seriously, these people are phenomenal) I managed to make it to some sessions with them, including a run through of the full race the Tuesday before. On my own I spent a lot of time in the pool. My run is stronger than ever. My bike….well…I know how to ride a bike….My goal was just to finish strong and feel like I had given what I had to give that day.

Part One – Set up

I wish I could say my confidence remained strong. However, I didn’t sleep well the night before and woke that morning slightly terrified.¬† We got to the race site just over an hour early so I could have plenty of time to set up and get ready. I met up with the training group, found a couple of other women were as nervous as I was and promptly calmed down. It’s not that I WANTED them to be nervous. I sincerely wanted each and every one of them to have an amazing morning. But misery loves company and knowing they were nervous normalized my anxiety. We talked, we joked, we had our numbers written on us, we walked down to check out the swim course. Standing on the shore, looking out at the buoys marking the course, I smiled at someone next to me and said “Oh we’ve GOT this.”

Part Two – Swim, 400 meters, 13:04

I got in the water about 5 minutes early to adjust, along with the women from the training group. We positioned ourselves towards the back of the pack – exactly where I wanted to be. I looked out over the crowd in front of us, to the buoys that suddenly looked very VERY far away. I had a flash back to the open water swim on Tuesday night. Someone yells “Are you ready?!!?” and I whimpered “No, no I’m not.” Someone from our group said “Yes you are. You’ve got this.” And then we were off. Kinda. I swear the first quarter of the swim felt like I was pulling just as¬† hard as I could…and going backwards. After what felt like forever, I glanced over and noticed someone who is a MUCH stronger swimmer than me was on her back. It was with great relief that I switched from the hybrid front crawl/dog paddle I was attempting to the side stroke. My breathing evened out, I started feeling like I might be making SOME progress and suddenly we were at the first buoy. I decided to try and actually swim again when suddenly I was incredibly hemmed in. There was a guy practically on top of my right side and someone kept smacking my feet. We were at the back of the pack, there should have been plenty of room but I couldn’t seem to get away from the woman on my left (sorry Amber). The guy on my right would move away, I would try to pull away from Amber and a few strokes later, we would be on top of each other again. And still, right behind me…”smack….smack….smack….” Dude. Back off or go around. I’m not moving fast enough for you to get ANY advantage being behind me. I couldn’t breath and resigned myself to side stroking the entire distance. At some point I gave a firm kick and whoever was behind me backed off. FINALLY somewhere between the 3rd and 4th buoy space started opening up and I felt like I was getting a rhythm.¬† I still had to be super aware or I would drift to the left and start to crowd Kim (Sorry Kim) (Amber had pulled ahead somewhere in the chaos). Dude on my right was doing the same thing to me so the last hundred meters or so was punctuated by calls of “Sorry!” as we tried not to swim over each other.¬† FINALLY I touched bottom and stood up. I was woozy but managed to high five a friend without falling over and jog most of the way up to transition until the rocks were too painful and I had to do the weird prancing, tip toe thing to the bike rack. I decided if the swim had taken less than 20 minutes, I would be happy. I felt like we had been out there at LEAST half an hour. So I was surprised to see under 15 minutes.

 

 

Tri 2016 Training – weeks 2 & 3

Well. The house we’re renting is being sold so we’re preparing to move. We don’t have a “drop dead date” to be out. We also aren’t 100% certain where we’re going yet although we have several leads. We considered buying but have pretty compelling personal reasons why that’s not the best idea right now…the least of which is financial surprisingly enough. Our landlords are great and I totally understand why they’re selling. Please don’t think I’m in any way upset. However, adding the fun of packing and keeping a house “show ready” while we’re still living here does create a bit of a hiccup in training. I’m training for a triathlon. And I am also playing softball. That’s four sports worth of equipment and clothing that I’m using which means my laundry room and bathroom often have more of a locker room aura than one might particularly enjoy. Not only that but packing is time consuming and, depending on what is being packed/purged/cleaned, tiring.

All that to say, my training the past couple of weeks has taken a bit of a hit. I started packing in earnest this last week so I only trained once. It was a quality session though. I met with a training group that a local running store puts together every year. We met at the pool and I was able to get some critique on my swim form! I was so excited. The coach corrected my head position and my breathing technique. I don’t rotate fully and she said I “frog legged” when I turned to breathe. She demonstrated on the deck and I can only HOPE she was as amused watching me as it was to watch her imitate me. She had several of us¬†work with a swim buoy and I ended the first lap laughing. At the time I described it as “fantastically awkward”. Just focusing on correcting those small things was exhausting! And difficult. I felt like I was learning to swim all over again! We ran a (very painful) mile afterwards. I was the last one in but didn’t even care. I was so happy to get home, shower and sleep but thoroughly enjoyed meeting with them. I’m looking forward to the next one.

The rest of the week consisted of packing, softball and friends. However, I’m in a good spot with the whole packing thing so my focus will be much more on swim/bike/run this week.

The gift of giving gifts

My husband ranks at Jedi Master level in the art of gift giving. He finds the perfect gifts, usually at a screaming deal. And often, it will not have even crossed your mind to want the item but you open the package to find something that fits your personality/lifestyle/hobbies/interests so precisely that you wonder how you could have ever overlooked it.

For example – my Christmas gift last year was a set of posters depicting the main characters from “Firefly“. It’s one of my favorite shows. I watch the one, lonely season that was produced at least once a year. So he found these posters, had the frames made and hung them in our room. I had never considered using Firefly decor in our room. But it’s so cool. I just stare at that wall sometimes in full fangirl geekdom.

He loves to give gifts. And he’s AMAZINGLY gifted at giving gifts. He also loves to receive gifts.

On the other hand….there’s me. Getting gifts stresses me out because I don’t want to disappoint the giver if I don’t love it enough…and I kinda wear my emotions/thoughts openly in my expressions so if they know me at ALL, they would know if I didn’t love it. (I should note that I have always been extremely happy that someone would take the time and energy to get me a gift.) (I should ALSO note that only once in my lifetime have I received a “bad” gift. But that’s another story. All that to say I don’t know why it’s still an issue for me.) And as far as giving gifts? I stink at it.¬†Like – I’m really REALLY bad at it. My poor husband has endured seven years of lackluster gifts. Although, to be fair, I’ve never bought him a tie. Or socks. There was the year I got him slippers but he asked for those.

This year he finally gave up, made an Amazon wish list and emailed it to me. Part of me is sad that I seem to lack the ability to come up with the perfect creative, unexpected gift. But mostly? I’m just relieved. He won’t be totally surprised. But he’s guaranteed to like whatever I choose for him. And the list? Maybe one of the best gifts he’s ever given me.

 

Y Not Tri?

Today we take a brief break from the Filipino discussion:

I’ve wanted to do a triathlon for awhile now. The only problem(s)? My swim form is UGLY (and I’m slow…). I’m not totally comfortable on a bike (and slow). I keep trying to fall in love with running but so far it’s, at best, a tumultuous relationship (and I’m slow…). Oh…and the idea of figuring out logistics of transitions? Terrified me. But despite all that, the idea of putting all those difficult elements together seemed, dare I say,¬†fun! So in a move that made absolutely no logical sense, I signed up for the Y Not Tri back in early May. I mentioned it on social media and then never spoke of it (or really thought about it) again. I finished up the semester, I went to the Philippines, I came home & ¬†moved across town. Then the first week of this month I started feeling normal and human again…and realized the tri was the second week of July.

Originally I signed up for the 400m swim/6 mile bike/2 mile running. I figured I could do that with no additional training. And back in May, I COULD have. But two months, a couple of major events, and zero training later, I emailed the race director in a panic and asked to be moved to the shorter distance (exactly half the original). And then I began preparing…which consisted of a grand total of a¬†ten minute open water swim at the race location 6 days before,¬†a¬†run through of the whole distance with a training group three days before and numerous panicked posts to the training group’s Facebook page throughout the entire week.

Surprisingly I slept just fine the night before. I think the run through on Tuesday helped make Saturday almost a non-issue…until I got there. Once I arrived at the race site, the nerves started to kick in a little bit. I met up with some of the people from the training group and promptly became BFFs with another woman doing the race for the first time. We set up our transitions together, we checked out the swim course together, we got marked up together, & listened to the race briefing & met up with other trainees together. Suddenly race morning went from intimidating to FUN. ¬†Some other friends from my life were doing the longest distance and they were out there to encourage and boost me as well. Bianca gave me a huge hug and helped get the swim cap on my head. Lynette (my Ironman friend!) took pictures and reassured & encouraged me. And as I was scurrying down the path to the start (because I got distracted by last minute “good lucks”, hugs & high fives), I heard my name and turned to find a former co-worker (Drew) standing in the spectators. He would normally be out there racing but is currently injured. He heard I was doing it though and headed down to offer support. Seeing him was the biggest surprise of the day and gave me a huge boost of energy right before jumping in the water.

The swim start was surprisingly calm. We all chatted & joked around on the dock. Most of us jumped in a few minutes before the start to splash around, the race director yelled “GO!”…and we went. There was no chaos. It was a very polite, calm affair. We were pretty spread out but¬†I found a good spot right between two people maintaining a pace I could match pretty easily until I couldn’t and then I side stroked for a few yards, rounding the first buoy and I wasn’t sure if I had been in the water forever or just a few minutes but my shoulders had quit muttering quite so intensely so I switched back to the front crawl and found people to match again. I don’t really remember rounding the last buoy. I do remember thinking I would not side stroke into the finish so I didn’t. I probably stopped a few strokes early and had to wade through chest deep water but on the other hand, I’m not sure that pond ever gets any more shallow. A volunteer helped pull me onto the crazy high step and then I was jogging down the lane, hearing my name here and there and all I could think was “I’m not dizzy!” and “Don’t put your helmet on backwards!” (Swim time: 9:28)

Transition went…as well as could be expected. I didn’t rush. I stayed standing to put on my socks & shoes and I’m not sure if that slowed me down or gave me a few extra seconds. Ultimately I don’t care. (T1 – 3:10) I jogged my bike to the mount line, stopped & got on. I haven’t even started to try & master the running mount. Given my level of grace and coordination, that will be a feat unto itself. I waved to Lynette and Drew who were already out¬†on the course cheering for me, gave them thumbs up for pictures and headed out on the first lap. What is there to say about the bike course? It was flat. It was also the loneliest stage. There were stretches where no one was around to cheer and no one was nearby to cheer FOR (which I did whenever I saw a member of the training group or someone passed me.) I found a groove and decided to hold it but ended up with the beginnings of a cramp in my right quad and an extremely dry mouth. Lynette was waiting for me next to T2 and asked how I was feeling. All I could say was “I’m really thirsty.” Lessons learned on the bike: Learn to get to my water bottle while pedaling and work on evening out my pedaling. (Bike time: 21: 31 – Also, I need more strength.)

I don’t have a time for T2. It couldn’t have been too long. I switched my helmet for a hat, gulped way too much water, ¬†grabbed my music, high fived Lynette and headed out. I jogged for a little bit,¬†realized I was still horribly thirsty…and then both sides simultaneously cramped into the worst side stitches I’ve ever had. I slowed to a walk/limp and maintained that pretty much the whole course. I had one ear bud in but it was hot, my sides hurt, I was still more thirsty than I could remember ever being in my entire life and music was irritating me, not motivating. After the turn around (and more water), I tried to run a little bit but reverted back to my walk/limp when I started getting nauseous. I decided I WOULD cross the finish line running though. I glanced at the time as I came around the last bend and thought I was pushing the sixty minute mark for my total time. I had spent the past week saying I didn’t care about time but in truth, I wanted to come in under an hour – even without training that seemed reasonable – and I was going to be UPSET if I missed that by a few seconds. So I picked up the pace and tried to sprint my way across the line. (Tried being the key word). Lynette was on the other side of the fence, ready for her wave to start but waiting to cheer my finish. I remember touching her hand through the fence and hearing her say “You did it! You’re finished!” I don’t remember what I answered but I think she told me to go get water which sounded like the most brilliant plan in the world. I think I wished her good luck. I hope I did because she was amazing out there for me. I walked to the refreshments tent, gratefully took a bottle of water and a handful of grapes and realized that if I tried to eat anything else I WOULD throw up. I spotted Bianca and received a HUGE hug from her. I wandered a few minutes until I saw my BFF from that morning standing near some chairs in the shade. She didn’t know who they belonged to but I sank into one anyway. Coach Beth (from the training group) came by to check on me & offer congrats.¬†¬†Within a few minutes Drew found me and commandeered the chair next to me. I was already feeling fine but we sat and chatted for a while until the owners’ of the chairs came back and nicely reclaimed them so they could leave. He said he thought my time was close to 50 minutes. I thought he was crazy but didn’t argue. Turns out my total time was 52:58 so in the future I should probably trust my¬†people out on the course who are more aware of those details.

All in all it was as much fun and a little harder than I expected. (95+ degrees probably didn’t help either.) I’m already eyeing a sprint in the fall and have started considering what time I’m aiming for next year. ¬†The activity itself is fun. But really it’s the community that elevates triathlon to such a great level. I had friends there and I can’t imagine doing this without them. People out on the course that I didn’t know encouraged and cheered me as I did them. Spectators I didn’t know, there for other participants, cheered for me. Sharing the details of the day and the giddiness of finishing with friends and training partners was not the icing on the cake, it was the cake. Getting to swim, ride & r…walk…that was the icing.

It’s really happening.

I’ve alluded to this on social media and my husband has commented about it. But until today I haven’t really publicly said anything because it wasn’t certain. But I received notice that my application has been accepted. I have my passport. I’ve emailed the travel agent for tickets and my doctor for vaccines.

I’m going on a two week mission trip to the Philippines with Wipe Every Tear¬†at the end of May.

It’s so REAL to type that.

I don’t know what to expect. Even after reading about the experiences of and talking to several others that have gone, even after stalking their facebooks and twitters and blogs…I don’t really know what to expect. In fact, I’m really trying not to go into it with expectations. I want to open to whatever God wants to show me and teach me, accepting of any experiences He wants to drop me into. But if we’re being perfectly honest, there ARE expectations. I expect to have my world rocked. I expect to love it while hating it at the same time. I expect it to be emotional and challenging and ¬†fun and wonderful and horrible. I expect it to be an EXPERIENCE.¬†

I’ve wrestled with a few issues while deciding to go ahead with the application and ¬†waiting for the acceptance (Or denial. My husband never doubted that I would get to go but it seemed so arrogant – on my part – to assume that approval was a given and I honestly couldn’t make that assumption. I love that he never doubted my “worthiness” though).

One – I can’t spell out WHY I’m going specifically. I can’t give you a list of goals or what I hope to accomplish. When it boils down to it, I’m really going for me. The people who do the real work are the ones that live there, the team that functions in the middle of the battle field, the ones who handle the day to day grind and build the relationships. I want to meet them and hug them and pray with them and support them and love them. I want to meet and love on the girls who are still enslaved. I want to show them they MATTER, that people world wide care for them. But I also love to travel and I can’t say that didn’t play more than a small part in the decision. (Although arguably God created me to love travel and can use that. Right?) This trip is simultaneously for me and not at all about me and I don’t know how to deal with that dichotomy yet (and may never).

Two – There’s always the argument of how the money is best spent. This is not an inexpensive trip (obviously). And the money could directly support the organization and the girls it serves. Then there’s the point that these trips change the perspective and lives of the people who go. Both are valid and important points. I never completely resolved this one either. Because on top of the above “this money could be used directly by the organization” issue, my entire family is sacrificing for me to do this. My husband set aside the funds, yes. But those are still funds that could have been used for the entire family, not just me. So this is a complicated issue that I can’t fully articulate. I just know that this was an idea I couldn’t seem to shake. The whole slavery issue (especially sex slavery) has become a obsession of mine. And – most importantly – my husband not only fully supports this, he encouraged it. Which brings me to issue #3….

Three – I can’t say I feel “called by God”. I know many people can say that. And it puts to bed pretty much any argument. God called, they responded. Done. But I can’t say with confidence that God is directing me specifically to take this trip. I CAN say with confidence that He broke my heart for the abomination of slavery. I get emotional easily, yes but I’m also easily distracted. However, this doesn’t directly benefit me. And it’s been an obsession for longer than a few weeks. That’s just not how I usually operate. History shows I should have found some shiny new issue to champion by now. I can also say that everything to this point has fallen into place with remarkable ease. School and work and schedules that I thought might be stumbling blocks? Not even a hiccup. And my family and friends support me – namely my husband. I can’t emphasize enough how important that is. But I can NOT say God told me to pack my bags and go the Philippines. On the flip side – I can’t say He’s saying “no”. ¬†And the couple of times I have CLEARLY “heard” Him speak? He was telling me no. In fact, I will confidently say I was not supposed to go on a trip any earlier than this summer. I know because I wanted to go. ¬†And He very clearly told me to sit my butt in a chair and stop. Stop planning, stop making lists, stop learning the language. Just stop. And pray. So I did (although I’ll admit some of those prayers could not be classified as “nice” or “polite”). He’s not saying “no” anymore. But I haven’t “heard” the equivalently clear YES. And so it seems disingenuous to use the reasoning of “God has called me to this”. Because all I know for sure is He’s not calling me away from it.

I have been very hesitant to say anything about this publicly. I don’t have to fund raise – thanks once again to the generosity of my husband.¬†And so, posting it on social media feels like…bragging? I recognize the irony of a long blog post about it but these thoughts don’t fit into a Facebook status. I don’t know.¬†¬†I know I don’t want it to be JUST about me. I want to shine a light on the issues both in the Philippines and right under our noses. I don’t want the trip to JUST be a meaningful and challenging vacation. I want it to give me perspective and insight. I want to come home educated and aware and more sensitive. I want it to be part of what shapes me into being able to effectively fight – not to show what *I* can do but show what God can do and to give girls the opportunity to see what THEY can do. I really feel like the most valuable players in this thing are those who have been freed. They have the insight and experience that a privileged woman in Boise Idaho can never replicate. But they need to be freed. And then they need to be supported and loved and encouraged. There’s not an easy solution. My two weeks overseas is not going to abolish slavery. But I have to start somewhere. Might as well be with a bang, right?¬†

Done and done

In keeping with my annual tradition, I am NOT posting a resolutions or wrap up post. That’s just an awful lot of work and I’m coming off a week of vacation. And to give you an idea of what my vacation entailed – I happily rolled out of bed at 9:30 one morning and announced to my husband “I set two goals for today! Sleep until at least 9:00am and shower. Half way there!” The pride he exuded was overwhelming. That’s the same day he told me he was going to Krav and I blankly stared at him from my comfy chair, under my heated blanket with my cup of coffee. And he came home to me laying in the floor, playing on my phone, with my feet propped on the wall.

But lest you think I was a total lazy bum – I got up Christmas eve and had breakfast with a friend. We jokingly called it our “first date” because we’ve always done stuff with our families and husbands. It was our first time hanging out just us and it was wonderful. Thursday I helped another friend pack her kitchen. Friday night we went to look at the Christmas lights at the Botanical garden with the breakfast friend & her hubby. Saturday we helped the earlier packing friend (and her family) move, then went to watch the first friend’s daughter play soccer (indoor), then went to another friendly family’s house to watch the UFC fights (did you SEE that leg break? ACK!). Yesterday was our fourth annual family movie marathon so….um….I sat under my heated blanket for approximately 12 hours watching Vin Diesel and Paul Walker drive fast cars. See? Not a totally wasted break.

If I had to sum up this year in one word, I’d have to use “friendship”. We spent a lot of time with those we love, becoming closer to established relationships and developing new ones. We started practicing Krav Maga – another fairly big step for us – but even that I would say falls under the friendship umbrella. We got into it through a friend and have made (and continue to make) new ones in the gym. In fact, I would argue that it’s the relationships that often get me in the doors & onto the mats, not any energy on my part. And now my husband has a membership so we’ll be on the mats together that much more…and that thrills me to no end.

I do have a few goals going into January:

1. Stick to the running plan that my Krav coach gives me. (She’s truly a woman of many talents.) And, um, don’t die in the first month of it.

2. Only post positive words on the internet. No complaining or whining etc. Just positivity. (Is too a word! That red squiggly line means nothing. Nothing.) But not be annoying about it. And the above goal about not dying? That’s positive. Not dying is positive.

That’s it. That’s it for January. Because as we saw in the first paragraph, I dream big.

A Quote You Love

Today’s prompt from Miss Kelsi’s ¬†list¬†is “a quote you love”:

I used to have a notebook of quotes, lovingly organized into categories. (It’s not OCD. It’s efficiency. There’s a difference.) Unfortunately that disappeared in one of my many moves before I had a chance to digitize it. Because once upon a time, a “folder” meant an actual, physical item that held multiple pieces of paper and information. Now we would call that “hard copies”. Anyway. I digress. I had a nice collection of quotes at one time. Alas, I can not even begin to think of one of those right now.

However, I can share a quote that I love.

“I have no idea what I’m supposed to do. I only know what I CAN do.”

Yes. That’s a line from James T Kirk in “Star Trek: Into Darkness”¬†(It’s actually in the linked trailer).

How very pop culture of me. It’s a fun movie though. And that quote is so terribly applicable so often.

Fall Cleaning

“Dear children of my heart – I love you to the moon and back. But the next one I see putting something in the microwave without covering it will be cleaning the microwave. With your tongue. Love – your mama that spent approximately 15 hours cleaning before finding that science experiment.”

That was the note I considered posting in my kitchen today. Yikes. And Yuck. But it’s clean now. So is the rest of the house. My husband flew out yesterday morning (and back this afternoon) so I took two days off work to deep clean the house. Our 15 year old asked me if it was to “surprise Dad or just because you’re frustrated with the house?” Yes. That. The second one. Because I hadn’t cleaned – really cleaned – in months. And while my husband doesn’t mind as long as it’s not unsanitary, I get to the point where I don’t want to be in my own house. I kinda wish I had taken before & after pictures. But honestly, I’m not sure we’re close enough for you to see those befores. We have three boys, a dog and a cat. And when I say “dog”, I mean a 95 lb German Shepherd – aka German Shedder. Good lord. So.Much.Hair. I steam cleaned the carpets and it was GROSS. I swear when she dies I’m not ever getting another dog.

I’m also a dirty rotten liar. I’ll cave at the first semi-cute canine to look up at me.

Also, that dog doesn’t like change much. And she gets nervous when Dad is gone. And he was gone. And there was a lot of change and noise and unknowns happening. And? She farts when she gets nervous. A lot. And I don’t mean “oh does that doggy woggy have gassy wassy?” little farts. No. These are “omg where’s my gas mask I can’t breathe” chemical warfare level farts.

All in all it was an interesting two days. The carpets have been steam cleaned. The bathroom closet was organized, the entire room scrubbed and the ceiling mopped. Our room was totally organized & cleaned. The kitchen – scrubbed. The oven was cleaned. I CLEANED THE OVEN PEOPLE!! Who has TIME for that normally? Not I. But I do believe I’ll be taking time off at least twice a year now to do this. Because my house? It is CLEAN. For at least a couple of hours. I even decorated for fall. No one else in the family cares. At all. But I do. And I’m damn proud of myself.

How to make me feel loved

There’s this cute little woman name Kelsi that I happen to have the honor of serving with at church. Occasionally we cringe together as her boyfriend and my husband together is often…well…it’s interesting. Amusing. But interesting. Anyway. She’s a woman of many talents that also happens to blog. And she posted a list of 30 prompts for November. Now we all know I’ve never completed a 30 day writing challenge and am unlikely to do so anytime soon. But she had some fun prompt so I’ll be plundering her list from time to time. I’ll even try to correspond with the planned prompt on the planned day. Maybe. Today’s prompt was “10 Ways to Win Your Heart” And that sounded fun so I started making a list. But then I decided these two categories really explain it better than a list.

  • Attention!¬†I thrive off attention. It makes my heart soar for someone to make the effort to acknowledge me in a way that indicates they were thinking of me specifically. I’ve had friends show up at my office with my favorite coffee drink for my birthday or because they knew I was having a bad day or just to say hi. Random texts or emails or notes of any sort make me smile. (But please don’t call me.) Sharing a link or story or video one thinks I’d enjoy (or that THEY enjoy) makes me feel important. Physical affection is huge for me. My top love language is physical touch…by a lot. I love hugs. Real hugs. Not quick obligatory squeezes or side hugs (unless it’s a male friend…then a side hug is perfectly fine). My mother in law gave the most awesome hugs in the history of the universe. I miss her hugs. Her sisters do the same. I just don’t see them often enough. I love to hold hands although obviously that is generally reserved for my husband and 10 year old…and the occasional female friend that is a touch needy as I am. I love snuggling on the couch. Physical affection = attention = a happy me.
  • Time!¬†This really goes hand in hand with “attention” because you can’t pay attention to someone without giving some of your time. But it means a lot when someone takes time out of their busy schedule to hang out and have a real conversation. While invitations to larger events are nice (I ENJOY those), it means so much more for someone to invite me to coffee or lunch or to go on a walk…one on one (or a few people) quality time. I don’t mind crowds. At all. But there’s a difference between that and saying “Hey. I want to spend time with YOU.”

Bonus thought: I’ve often said that I don’t like surprises. But that’s not true. I LOVE to be surprised because that person took the time (and energy) to plan something specifically for me. And that makes me feel special and loved. I don’t like SUSPENSE. There’s a difference. Don’t tell me you have a surprise for me…in a week. I hate that. ¬†Surprises are time AND attention. Of course I love them.

Obviously I’m not looking for anyone to win my heart. My husband managed that task awhile back. But to feel loved? I can really be summed up in just a few statements. I want to be shown I’m important in your life, worth time & thought. I don’t need gifts (coffee is an exception) but unexpected moments & words are treasured & appreciated. Attention & time & snuggles. Lots & lots of snuggles. That about sums it up.

(P. S. I’m a horrible friend & rarely show people the love I want to be shown. It’s evidence of how self absorbed I can be. And actually how unsure I can be sometimes if someone is going to be uncomfortable with a hug or happy. Or if they even WANT to spend time with me. But mostly? It’s self absorption.)